Browsing articles in "Web"
Jan 7, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Patent Reveals Upcoming Interface Design For Google Chrome OS

Google Chrome OS is one of the hottest and most awaited products for 2010. Demos of the product have already been made by Google executives. While, we do already have an idea of the basic user interfaces, a recently filed patent reveals a much deeper insight into the upcoming Google Chrome OS.

The patent which is titled “Web based user interface for selecting options” talks specifically about icon display and selection. In the patent, Google talks about the ‘cons’ of the competitor operating systems like Windows XP and Apple OS X. About Apple, Google writes

“One shortcoming is that jsdock uses inefficient algorithms for discovering that an icon is indicated or not indicated and for scaling icons. Another shortcoming is that jsdock displays each icon by scaling a single image to the appropriate size. Yet another shortcoming is that jsdock is limited to image scaling effects.”

Google claims to do away with inefficiencies in the previous Operating systems display mechanisms with their own algorithm that helps to scale image sizes differently while user works on them.

Google’s patent also reveals a minimalist UI of the Google Chrome OS window. Here is a screenshot of the same

The image is interesting because this is significantly different from the Chrome OS prototypes we have seen till now. Here is Google’s earlier demonstration of how Chrome OS will look like

What do you think? Is it possible that Google has changed their UI design? Tell us your thoughts in the comments

Jan 7, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

“Popular Items” on Google Reader No Longer Popular

There has not been much news nor developments when it comes to the RSS readers of late – even with the one popular Google Reader. But looks like at least the cosmetic changes are still happening.

In a tweet posted today, Google has announced that the “Popular Items” list on the ‘Explore’ section in Google Reader has been renamed as ‘Recommended Items’. Well, there is no explanation for why it was done. Google’s tweet reads

“We recently re-named the “Popular Items” link to “Recommended Items” in the “explore” section. The content of the feed is still the same.”

Why do you think this change was done? Do you even know someone who uses the Explore section? Please tell us in the comments.

Jan 5, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Google Offers To Sponsor White Spaces Project For Five Years

White Spaces is a project that was launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a way to open up the unused part the television broadcast spectrum for unlicensed use which can help in offering wireless broadband at much higher speeds.

Google joined this project back in February of last year and has been working with the FCC in actively pushing the project through. The company has now urged the FCC to assign it the role of managing the database. In a proposal sent to the FCC yesterday, the company claims that their experience with such projects can be put to great use by taking part in an initiative that can help bring “WiFi on steroids”.

Also part of the proposal, the company has offered to sponsor the project for a full five year term if given the opportunity. The company writes

“Google is a large public company whose financial statements are a matter of public record.  Google has sufficient funds and access to capital to develop and operate the proposed Database for a full five-year term. We intend to operate the Database for a minimum of five years after being designated an administrator, as contemplated by the Commission’s rules.

In the event we do not complete a five-year term, we will transfer to a successor entity the Database, the IP addresses and URLs used to access the Database, and the list of registered Fixed WSDs, as required by the rules.”
Elaborating on the need for the company to participate in this program, Google writes
“We continue to be big believers in the potential for this spectrum to revolutionize wireless broadband, and we think it’s important for us to step forward and offer our assistance to make that vision a reality.”
The FCC response to the proposal is not yet known.
Jan 4, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Why I Love Google

Having started GoRumors – a website dedicated to news around Google Inc., it should come as no surprise that we guys here love Google. What makes Google special – Well, for a long time it was simply the simplicity they brought to the world of internet.

Remember Google launched at a time when flashing banners were the order of the day. It is so easy to create a simple and elegant looking text site today. Back then, you had to have one of those flashy banners in order to make any money. And Google has been a terrific influence in introducing simplicity to web design.

But over the years, it has simply been their open culture, business strategies and despite all the criticism, their ‘do no evil’ policies. Yes, there have been many a time when Google was accused of doing no evil only when they had nothing at stake. Possibly true, but it still is one of the better companies that takes the ethical aspects of business into question before making a decision and that makes them wonderful.

Case in point – the recent introduction of extensions to Chrome. Unlike Apple, which is so annoyingly closed and where a mere mention of app approval policies will have app developers seething with anger, Google has no hesitation in allowing developers to make products that can likely threaten their very existence.

Recently, the company allowed Chrome users access to Ad blocking extensions like AdThwart and AdBlock. Considering that advertising has been the prime bread-winner for Google all along, this move appears so refreshing.

So, how come the company let the developers make these apps? Linus Upson, Engineering director at Google says

“It’s unlikely ad blockers are going to get to the level where they imperil the advertising market, because if advertising is so annoying that a large segment of the population wants to block it, then advertising should get less annoying.”

Of course, one might argue that Google has no problem letting the extension in because Chrome is still not very popular today. But as a company, Google should be looking at strategies to increase Chrome penetration and with extensions as these, the number of adblocking users should increase. But the company’s line of thought is to get ready for an evolution in case a majority of users want to.

And this is exactly something that makes Google extra special.

Jan 2, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

SideWiki About To Take Center-Stage

Remember Google’s Sidewiki project – The Google toolbar extension that let users to collaboratively provide reviews, ratings and further discussion on existing webpages? Well, if rumors are true, the Sidewiki project could soon be taking center stage on your webpages and not just be relegated to a side of the browser.

A patent filed by Google back in mid-2008 and published recently shows Google’s plans to make Sidewiki something similar to Youtube’s annotations.

According to this, Google has been working on a technology that will help users make annotations, highlight parts of the webpage and load these annotations every time they visit the page.

Google explains the technology thus

Among other things, a computer-implemented method for annotating webpage content includes accessing a webpage in a browser, the webpage under control of a third party. A collection of annotations stored at a storage location is retrieved, the annotations collection associated with the webpage and an annotations author. The webpage is displayed with the retrieved annotations collection overlaid on the accessed webpage.

For now, it is still not clear if this patent seeks to extend the functionlity of Sidewiki or the more forgotten Google Notebook. Google Notebook, as you might remember is a personal note-taking tool which let users copy, paste text from different sources on to a single place. Sidewiki is just a social extension of Notebook and going by the patent description above, this looks like taking Sidewiki a step further rather than Notebook.

The idea does look cool, though it can make things a bit spammy. I have personally not been a fan of Youtube annotations, and if this were to be something similar, I don’t think I would ever choose to see this.

Jan 1, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

New Google Patent Reveals Better Contextual Targeting of Image And Video Ads

Google is apparently working on a technology that will help in improving the contextual relevance of image and video ads. A recently published patent explains how the newly developed technology works.

Google explains the need for such a technology with the following example

“However, providing ads and other documents based on user-related content does not ensure the propriety of that content for a particular audience. For instance, a beer advertisement may not be appropriate on a website for recovering alcoholics, even though the ad and the content of the website are related by subject matter.”

The newly developed technology will scan through images and videos for appropriateness as well as contextual relevance.  An extract from the patent reads

“An embodiment of the present invention provides for uploading a document such as a graphical advertisement and comparing the document to other documents. The document can be compared to other documents by a document processor (e.g., automatically by an image processor). The processor may process images, sound files, and other data to identify text and images (as well as spoken words and other data) in the image ad. For instance, text may be identified in an image using optical character recognition (OCR) technology. By comparing the document to other documents, content can be identified in and associated with the document, and the document can be accordingly rated and approved based on this content and the status of the ratings of the comparison documents. The document can also be associated with content-based concepts (e.g., keywords, subject matter, etc.) that relate to a service or product associated with the documents.”

This definitely sounds a very interesting way to expedite the process of approving image and video ads as well as while delivering them contextually. You may view the patent abstract by clicking here (temporary link)

Jan 1, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Google In Subpoena Trouble Once Again [Updated]

The Transportation Security Administration in US had recently issued a directive to many airline companies around the world requiring them of carrying out additional screening procedures of passengers. This, expected to be a high security directive was seen as breached when two bloggers who claim to have received information about this from an anonymous source blogged about them.

Late December 30th, the bloggers’ were interrogated by TSA officials to know about the anonymous source who sent them the mail. Apparently, these emails were sent from a Gmail account.

This makes it likely for Google to have received Subpoena orders once again. You might remember that back in 2006, there was a lot of debate over whether or not Google should give in to directives to reveal their users information to security officials looking for information on the spread of child pornography. Google took the US Justice Department to Court and won the case.

However, the company is apparently looking to keep the current case low profile. On contacted, the company spokesperson said

“We don’t talk about individual cases to help protect all our users. Obviously, we follow the law like any other company. When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if doesn’t we can object or ask that the request is narrowed. We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users.”

While it is not clear about whether or not Google complied in this case, it looks like a wasted attempt by TSA authorities. The directive was sent to hundreds of airliners and possibly reached thousands of people all the world over. As Steven Frischling, one of the bloggers involved the case says

“It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that.”

Update: Following the public outcry, the subpoena against the two bloggers have been withdrawn. The case about Google still remains.

[via Search Engine Land]

Dec 31, 2009
Anand Srinivasan

Google Wishes You A Happy New Year With PageRank Update

New Year or rather a new decade is in and we would like to take the opportunity to wish all our readers and their families a very happy and prosperous 2010. Well, it is not just us wishing you prosperity. Google too is. Just when we were slipping into the new year, Google has announced a new Pagerank update and while this site of ours hasn’t benefitted from it, most other sites have.

There has been a lot of debate lately over Google’s toolbar pagerank and how much value it has for website publishers. While the company execs themselves have downplayed the significance of the toolbar pagerank, the company still continues the tradition of periodically reviewing and updating the PR.

There is apparently a tradition at Google to update pageranks on new year’s eve. As Search Engine Land, there was a PageRank update on the eve of 2009 new year too and the coincidence of the same can be seen either as Google’s way of wishing publishers (who benefitted) a happy new year or is just an incidental update. Eitherways, we would like to know if your sites have benefitted from this update. Please tell in the comments.

[via Search Engine Land]

Dec 31, 2009
Anand Srinivasan

Google Working To Make Cloud Computing Faster, Transparent And More Accessible

Google has long nurtured ambitions of moving the whole enterprise IT infrastructure on to a cloud. Google Apps has been the company’s most celebrated cloud computing tool for enterprises. Having existed on this space for a few years now, what is it that is ailing the cloud computing space?

In a discussion with eWeek, Bradley Horowitz, Google Vice President for Product Management said that the company has faced quite a few challenges when it comes to cloud computing but that has been solely because of the hesitation from enterprises to trust a third party with their core data. He says

“We used to walk into a lot of accounts, and when I spoke to people about cloud computing there was a certain hesitancy and tentativeness about what it meant to surrender their data to the cloud. People had all kinds of concerns, all of them valid. We saw that dissipate over the course of 2009 and it’s partly generational. People that grew up on the Internet have fewer concerns about what it means to entrust a server with their content.”

So what is the future of cloud computing like? Google sees the necessity to bring user trust into the system as a primary first step. The company has already set up Data Liberation Front to enable enterprises to export all the data created on Google Apps to other systems outside the purview of Google which has instilled a sort of security among enterprises that they are not going to be forever dependent on a third party for their data management.

Other important factors that could be coming into play, according to Horowitz are the speed and ease of access. Horowitz says

“We want to build the cloud in such a way that it’s got all of the qualities you would want. You want it to be blazingly fast. You want it to be accessible wherever you are on the planet within milliseconds. You want it to be accessible on whatever device you happen to be at, whether that’s an enormous big-screen monitor, or whether something the size of a wristwatch. You want it to be transparent and flow across services and devices without you having to think about or program it.”

Google already has a lot of stiff competition in this segment from the likes of IMB, Cisco and Microsoft. Will they be able to extend their internet success to the cloud computing space as well. We have the next decade to answer that question.

[via EWeek]

Dec 31, 2009
Anand Srinivasan

Vevo Videos To Be Pulled From YouTube API

Vevo.com, a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music to build a destination site for their music productions has decided to pull its music from YouTube API, a company’s statement has revealed.

Vevo.com used YouTube as the hosting partner to deliver all their online music content. While music videos on Vevo included the company’s watermarks and conformed to their licensing agreements, the same content that was also available through YouTube on their website and to the other websites that made use of YouTube’s APIs that caused the company a lot of headache.

These third party websites that pulled Vevo’s videos off YouTube’s API stripped the videos of any overlay ads and instead monetized their own websites with display ads – a blatant violation of the licensing agreements.

In a bid to remove such violators, Vevo has announced that the company has decided to pull its music from YouTube’s API. The move could hurt the company in the short term as the view-reach could see a dip. But it should serve the company better from a long term perspective as this would mean all videos are viewed within the conforms of all licensing agreements and hence the company stands.

What do you think of this move? Tell us in the comments.

[via NewTeeVee]